The financial services industry is an interesting one. There are many different layers and sectors that fall into this field. There are also a wide variety of different people, encompassing a wide range of personalities and skill sets, yet at the same time, it is an extremely small world.
It is no secret that relationships are a key component of this business; while a strong background in academics is always beneficial, the relationships and product knowledge are, to me, the top two most important ingredients for success and longevity. I am continually surprised to find myself able to develop strong and meaningful relationships in such a large and dense industry. These very relationships have sparked an interesting question in my mind: Does being a woman in this industry make a difference in the types of relationships I build?
Building a different kind of relationship
I cannot tell you the number of times I find myself in complete awe watching my husband’s monthly poker events. He gathers his friends and smokes cigars, drinks scotch and discusses sports. I find myself rather amused because I have seen women – including myself– approach the same situation in a very different manner. The ways in which I build relationships with my clients at the outset may appear unique, yet, it yields the same result. I trade in the cigars and scotch for a casual conversation over lunch. I have always found food has a special way of bringing people together; it allows one to feel comfortable and engaged in an unscripted dialogue. This enables me to gauge exactly how I can help. Because, when I understand my clients’ needs and keep the lines of communication open, I make it easy for them to call upon me when they need assistance. This also provides me with the opportunity to understand their needs and execute as productively and efficiently as possible. My ability to be assertive without being aggressive, thoughtful yet matter-of-fact, has a positive impact on the recommendations I provide to clients and, overall, the high level of service I deliver.
So, does being a woman in this industry make a difference in the types of relationships that I build? I answer this question with a fervent “ yes.” This is not in any way to say I build better relationships than my male counterparts, I merely recognize the difference, and I see the impact it has on the work that I do in a very tangible manner. I bring a wealth of experience and a focused perspective to solving the challenges my clients face by providing the best available solutions and services.
How does she do it?
As a woman in such a fast-paced industry, I get asked the same question over and over: “How do you do it?” How do I do it? It takes a lot of hard work to be a successful woman in any field, and I use the tools I have developed as a professional to support my clients through each day and to ensure that they see how a personal touch – a woman’s touch– makes a fundamental difference.
Jennie Kim is Western Region vice president of Great American Group’s Advisory and Valuation Services Division. She is responsible for managing business development by marketing valuation services targeting all asset classes to lenders, sponsor groups and companies direct. To reach Jennie, or for more information about services available through Great American Group, contact (818) 884-3737 or visit www.greatamerican.com/appraisal.